The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia, Ms. Karin Landgren, briefing the Security Council today on the Twenty-fourth Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), said security measures alone will not create lasting peace in Liberia, highlighting constitutional reform and national reconciliation as central to peace consolidation in Liberia.
Addressing the Security Council at UN Headquarters in New York, the SRSG noted that Liberia has made remarkable progress in institutional rebuilding, economic recovery and consolidating its democratic processes. “With Liberia on the verge of becoming a true success story, the UN Mission must walk a delicate balance: applauding successes and pulling back our support, while continuing to accompany Liberia in areas crucial to lasting peace,” SRSG Landgren said. “Reinforcement of the national security sector should go hand in hand with national reconciliation and structural changes to address the underlying causes of past conflict. Achieving this, however, will take both political commitment and financial resources.”
UN Envoy Karin Landgren noted that the Liberian Government is firmly committed to taking on the security responsibilities now performed by the Mission. “Stemming from a recent Joint Transition Workshop held by the Government and UNMIL, we have updated our joint planning structures, and are reviewing the linkages between these, donor coordination mechanisms and Liberia’s development frameworks for greater coherence. We have designed a graphic roadmap to help illustrate, phase by phase, the demands on the Liberian security sector, and to give the Government the necessary lead time to adjust its security posture.”
Ms. Landgren stressed the importance of strengthened security capacity and regulation to be matched with a stronger justice system, for the public to have confidence in the State’s capacity to protect and provide justice.
Concerning border security, the SRSG noted that the Liberian Government has continued its efforts to mitigate security threats at its border with Côte d’Ivoire, including closely engaging with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire. She also noted that with continued reports of alleged training and recruitment of armed elements on Liberian soil, including reports that such activity has occurred in refugee camps within Liberia, a comprehensive national strategy to address the issue of mercenaries and foreign combatants is still needed.
SRSG Landgren also highlighted the strengthened UNMIL and UNOCI Inter-Mission Cooperation on border issues, saying that the two missions remain ready to work with both Governments on a shared border strategy, including not only security measures but also longer-term elements of reconciliation, justice, and employment.
“UNMIL is able to begin a transition process today because of the progress Liberia has made since 2003,” said the SRSG in concluding her remarks, ‘Liberia is becoming a nation at peace with itself and with its past, a nation able to channel its vast economic potential into the better lives its people have waited for.”
Renewal of UNMIL’s mandate is set for discussion at the United Nations Security Council later this month.